Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 191–266
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Funder: Russian Science Foundation
Funder – grant number: 17-18-01410-P
Collection: I.A. Bunin and his Time: Context of Life — History of Work
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Anton V. Bakuntsev
Bakuntsev, A.V. “‛Here is a Work of a True Master’: Emigrant Critics on Ivan Bunin’s Novel ‛The Life of Arseniev’ (1928–1952).” I.A. Bunin and His Time: Context of Life — History of Work. Ex. eds. T.M. Dvinyatina and S.N. Morozov; Eds. A.V. Bakuntsev and E.R. Ponomarev. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 191–266. (In Russ.)

About the author:

Anton V. Bakuntsev,  PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


The research was carried out at the Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 17-18-01410-P “Academic Bunin. Source studies, textology, methodology”).


The paper covers the critical reception of Ivan Bunin’s novel “The Life of Arseniev” in 1928–1952 considering a large empirical material presented by more than 50 responses of emigrant critics to “The Life of Arseniev” – including its parts (books) published in the “Sovremennye zapiski” magazine in 1928–1929 and 1933, and to book publications published in 1930, 1939 and 1952. The variety of critical points of view on the form and content of “The Life of Arseniev”, its significance and place in Russian and world literature are represented for a first time in a coherent and systematic way. The empirical material grouping is based on the chronology of publication of Bunin’s novel both in periodicals and as separate publications. The principle of historicism and the comparative analysis were the main research methods. Based on the research, the author concludes that it was emigrant criticism that outlined the main ways of the following scientific understanding of “The Life of Arseniev”.

Keywords: Ivan Bunin, “The Life of Arseniev”, criticism, Russian Abroad, emigrant press.